DfT North London network Streetworks visit

Cadent’s North London gas network is the densest and most complex in the UK with the longest history dating back to 1813 where the world’s first public gas works opened in Westminster.

Two-hundred and five years later, this week we took the Department for Transport’s Tom Pinchbeck, Streetworks Policy and Regulation Delivery Manager, onto the streets of London to see how we continue to keep that network running, transporting gas to eight million Londoners through two million supply points, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Each year Cadent’s North London engineers respond to 120,000 gas escapes, 10,000 gas meter exchanges, 12,000 emergency excavations and replace 355km of mains piping to ensure that Londoners remain warm and safe, and that the City’s supply network is reliable and futureproof.

Starting our day in Cadent’s Goswell Road depot, James Harrison our London Head of Operations took us through the key pillars of our operational activity which falls within three primary functions;

  • Operation and Maintenance – Ensuring reliable network functioning and safe gas flow to homes and businesses now.
  • Emergency Response and Repair – Responding to gas escapes including potential emission of carbon monoxide to keep our customers safe.
  • Replacement and Extension - Primarily driven by replacement of iron mains with polyethylene pipes to strengthen and futureproof the network to support tomorrow’s energy challenges.

A quick change into our PPE and we’re off to London’s streets to demonstrate how we innovatively maintain the integrity of our network with the help of ‘Cisbot’, currently in action in Covent Garden between Long Acre and Oxford Street.

The ‘Cisbot’ robotically undertakes pipeline rehabilitation from inside the pipe and through a single entry point the Cisbot can travel up to 240 meters in each direction completing repair works. This means we are able to eliminate the need for traditional large-scale excavation of London’s streets and disruption of gas services, thus minimising interference to the traffic and pedestrian flow in the area.

A short trip from Covent Garden to Monck Street in Westminster, we visit an emergency repair job on a large diameter leak on a low pressure main. With North London homing some of the UK’s oldest pipes that have served the capital for decades, these emergency repair jobs are essential to keep the gas flowing before long term replacements take place. These repair works are being undertaken in collaboration with Thames Water to ensure that the excavation of the site takes place only once, again in the interest of keeping the inconvenience of a road closure to a single occurrence.

These works are funded in large part through the network charge on customers’ bill. In London, the average gas distribution contribution from each customer is £142 per year. These funds are then spent in the following ways;

It is Cadent’s ethos to put the customer at the centre of all the work that we do. To support this philosophy we are proud that our operations are undertaken by a highly skilled and experienced workforce, all of whom are experts in their field. This ensures that value and care is taken during each work activity to uphold the interests of the local community and those living and working there. Cadent keeping London’s gas and streets flowing.

“ It has been really valuable to come and see first-hand the extensive and varied work that Cadent is carrying out in North London to keep gas flowing to homes and businesses, whilst trying to keep disruption to a minimum.” - Tom Pinchbeck, DfT’s Streetworks Policy and Regulation Delivery Manager

A big thank you to Richard Sansom, Paul Gerrard , ULC Robotics and our North London Cadent ERR.
For more information about our Streetworks activity and operations in our London network please contact: Emily Wilson-Gavin, External Affairs Manager,  Emily.Wilson-Gavin@cadentgas.com